Building Design+Construction editors bring you the top building products for the month of August. Collected across a variety of building sectors, these products innovate building facades, aesthetically please, and secure occupants.
From frameless windscreens to solar shingles, here are 15 products being used in the industry today.
August 2023 Top 15 Building Products
Part of residential development around a former railyard turned park in Las Vegas, the architects of a 290-unit apartment building took inspiration from surrounding activities to inspire the exterior’s appearance. PAC-CLAD 24-gauge steel Highline B2 panels in musket gray are utilized as wall cladding as a reference to the adjoining train tracks, while Flush Panels in multiple colors are placed in a seemingly random pattern around several exterior elevations as a nod to the park’s signature sculpture located across the street. Additionally, the brand’s 7.2 panels in .032-gauge aluminum screen the parking garage, and Snap-Clad standing-seam roof panels top pop-out elements designed to break up the linearity of the apartment building’s long façade.
To accomplish an artist’s vision and ensure the longevity of a multi-piece sculpture on the side of a parking structure in a mixed-use neighborhood in Boise, Idaho, the design/build and engineering teams of Studio Capacitator turned to ALUCOBOND PLUS for its durability, attractiveness and pliability. According to the artist’s statement, the piece draws upon the metaphor of a universal watering hole, so ALUCOBOND PLUS Galaxy Blue was selected to replicate the waterhole while the color Ocean appears on the figures because of its color shifting elements depending on lighting and time of day. The 14 uniquely positioned, six-foot blue origami figures—created through photogrammetry, a process involving overlapping photos of an object and converting them into a 3D mode, after taking photos of a single model in a pose—came together using unique patterns from which the aluminum composite material components could be produced and then wrapped around an aluminum skeleton using small connector tabs to fasten.
The modernization of an airport terminal plus the addition of four new gates took more than four years to accomplish but the project’s end result accomplished the goal of creating a sustainable, high-performing, resilient and resource efficient building that is a comfortable, healthy environment for passengers and workers alike. In addition to those sustainability initiatives, the project’s design team sought to create an “orb” using architectural metal, and 4mm FR Core larson by Alucoil assisted with accomplishing both goals. The aluminum composite material was fabricated into a rainscreen system through assistance from both the manufacturer’s European and U.S. design teams to ensure the final orb surface geometry was achieved. Adding to the dramatic statement of the orb, a color shifting paint system with multiple gloss levels was coordinated and executed leading into the panel production.
With the introduction of the Viracon Identification Number (VIN), an insulating glass unit can be replaced in the case of damage, building expansion or other needs with an exact match. This 24-digit number—eight digits of which represent a unique code detailing information such as the glass’ thickness, size, substrate, heat treatment and more—is discreetly laser printed into every piece of glass fabricated. Created to remove guesswork, a VIN can be found on the glass unit’s Viracon Thermal Spacer and then be sent to the manufacturer via its website to receive a response with all the details for a specific piece of glass within 48 hours.
Engineered to withstand extreme commercial and industrial environments, the Corrosion Resistant Service and Insulated Doors pair the design integrity of the manufacturer’s standard rolling service doors with the ability to inhibit oxidation and red rust. The doors’ components are coated with zirconium plus corrosion-resistant fasteners, ZRG powder-coated shaft and zinc-coated bearings to ensure longevity whether in interior or exterior openings. Available in the company’s Cornell and Cookson brands, the door curtain and guides are offered in stainless steel with a #4 finish or clear anodized aluminum in sizes up to 15 feet wide and 15 feet high.
Now available in the U.S., the Solstice solar roofing line offers solutions to complement a building’s aethetic while being durable enough to last and withstand challenging conditions. The Solstice Shingle can seamlessly integrate with any asphalt shingles and be installed directly by a roofing contractor with assistance from an electrician. Delivering as much energy as conventional, rack-mounted solar panels without the bulky look, the shingle achieves superior performance under diffused light and shade. Offering a balance of style, efficiency and value, the Solstice Panel can be installed with either a new or existing asphalt shingle roof. The black solar panels aid in lowering a home’s energy consumption.
by Wayne Dalton
Delivering a first line of defense, the Rolling Steel Storm Shelter Door series provides schools, emergency operations centers, storefronts and other commercial facilities with a proactive solution for unwanted emergencies. Available in three models, the doors are built with 12-gauge curved slats, free-interlocking joints and a double-angle bottom bar to fortify the doors’ strength. Models 800F and 800FR are impact-rated for up to 100 mph and structurally wind load design pressure tested to +/- 300 psf. The Model 800FR is also fire-rated for up to four hours and comes standard with a Genie GCL-H Fire Door operator with a fuse link mechanism for a drop-on alarm and can integrate into a single-push button activation system. Rounding out the offerings is the Model 800FE, which is not only ballistics-rated for .22LR - .38 special but also meets ASTM F3038-21 requirements for up to 30 minutes of forced entry.
Construction Specialties (CS) introduces a new undermount model to its FB-17 series of expansion joint fire barriers. This line of products effectively minimizes smoke passage while accommodating dynamic movement, without degradation of the material. The FB-17UM system installs from below the joint instead of from above, proving ideal suitability for parking garages, renovations where a wall cannot be demolished, pre-cast slabs that can't be cut, or other areas where an emergency solution is needed. The FB-17UM Undermount Expansion Joint Fire Barrier is designed for 5"–20" nominal and 9"–30" maximum floor expansion joints where there are seismic, thermal, or wind-sway design requirements.
Inspired by the company’s Ascent Glass Windscreen, Ocula features a post-free, clamp supported design with optimal performance. Ideal for pool surroundings, balcony dividers, and elevated overlooks, the system delivers wind protection without obstructing views. Named Glass Magazine's "Best Product System" of 2023, the Ocula Frameless Windscreen can be used in a variety of settings, from hospitality and high-rise, to healthcare and education buildings. The windscreen also mitigates wind tunneling in courtyards and other open areas. The system is offered in three standard heights for guardrail (43”), pool surround (48”) or balcony divider (60”), but custom heights, along with multiple top cap and handrail options, are also available.
The NOTIFIER INSPIRE fire alarm system with Self-Test detectors is an all-in-one fire system that delivers reliable protection, scalability, efficient monitoring, and flexible and timely reporting. Because the system’s UL-approved smoke detectors can self-test by introducing small amounts of heat and smoke into its own detection chambers, it eliminates the physical challenge of accessing all detectors while also testing photo and thermal sensors and verifing smoke entry points are free of obstruction. Enabled through the manufacturer’s Connected Life Safety Services cloud-based platform, installers, service technicians, and facility managers can have real-time visibility into the fire alarm system and detectors.
Suitable for effective contamination control in medical, pharmaceutical and electronics manufacturing cleanroom environments and more, the UltraClean Atmospheric Series 2021 Sliding Door System complies with ISO 3 and ISO 5 standards for airborne particulates and can be specified to meet ISO 14644-1 Class 3 through 9 cleanroom applications. Additionally, the doors can be specified as an Environmental Product Declaration ECO compliant system, which exceeds mandated requirements for condensation, infiltration and U-value. Available as a single or biparting slide and in partial or full breakout, the sliding door comes in heights up to seven feet and can be surface applied or perimeter mounted.
An expansion of the company’s integrated in-fixture control, the Smart Fixture Mount Sensors (FMS) for high bay applications are engineered to install directly into high-bay and low-bay luminaries to provide scheduling solutions, daylight harvesting, dimming and integrated occupancy sensing to meet stringent energy code requirements. The sensors use PIR detection and advanced optics to achieve an impressive field-of-view, and the in-fixture controls feature multiple daylight modes as well as partial-OFF operation. Two mounting options are available, and the controls are fully configurable using the Smart Sensor App.
The redesigned Automatic, Universal Roll Towel Dispenser has a streamlined appearance and a patron-friendly LED light that directs users to the towel activation zone. Offered in profiles that range from recessed and semi-recessed to surface mounted, the towel dispenser is available in three combination units that feature a dispenser and waste bin and two dispenser-only selections. Trigger bar technology and adjustable sensor range virtually eliminate unintentional dispensing, and the dispenser’s stub roll utilization means minimal waste at the end of a roll.
by Georgia-Pacific and SmartLam
Designed with a focus on sustainability and wellness and targeting net neutral operational carbon, a four-story loft office building is also prioritizing material selection that supports the local economy by sourcing materials from within 100 miles where possible, which means using Georgia-grown timber for its construction. Rather than sourcing the timber from Canada, Austria or Germany as is typical, the project utilizes local southern yellow pine sawtimber harvested from Georgia forests—a first for mass timber construction in Georgia—which was transported to Georgia-Pacific’s sawmill where it was converted into lumber, then on to SmartLam’s mass timber plant where it was manufactured into cross laminated timber (CLT) panels. The CLT panels are used for columns, beams and floor slabs within the building. So in addition to the mass timber being a sustainable building material with a low carbon footprint, the use of local timber reduces the project’s transportation emissions and the overall environmental impact of construction.
The KINETICWALL is a dynamic wind-driven building facade that creates the appearance of rolling waves. Manufactured by Exterior Technologies (EXTECH), the customizable metal panels the KINETICWALL provides a functional facade for shading and ventilating structures, and permits visibility from the interior. The flapperwall’s pin-mount suspension, lightweight aluminum, and unitized construction also facilitates installation, saving time and labor in the field. The panels are designed to withstand hurricane force winds and rainfall.